Yesterday at 5 pm, the body of Croatia’s saint Leopold Bogdan Mandic arrived from Italian town Padova, where he laid since his death in 1942. Archbishop of Zagreb, cardinal Josip Bozanic welcomed the Saint’s body in the front of the Cathedral after Pope Francis proclaimed Leopeold, along with padre Pio from Pietrelcina, the patron saints of this, the Year of Mercy.
Thousands of believers from all over the country stood for hours in front of the Cathedral, waiting to pay their respects.
A formal reception started with the words of cardinal Josip Bozanic: We are gathered around the body of our dear Leopold, who in his simple life and love was following the teachings of Jesus. He offered himself for the salvation of people who seek peace and liberation from evil.
A Capuchin friar and Catholic priest, Leopold suffered from disabilities that would plague his speech and stature. He developed tremendous spiritual strength in spite of his disabilities and became extremely popular in his ministry as a confessor, often spending 12-15 hours in the confessional.
Born in Herceg Novi in 1866, a multi religious part of then Austro -Hungarian Empire, he strived his whole life to unite Christian denominations in love and peace. Opened and forgiving to people in turmoil, but unrelenting in his principles, Leopold had ended up in an Italian concentration camp in World War II. The church he resided in was completely demolished in bombings, but his confession chamber was the only thing left standing in the ashes.
After the evening mass, led by the bishop of Sisak, Vlado Kosic, believers were allowed to go near the sarcophagus with the body of St. Leopold, touch him and pray. People cried and gave their confessions how this saint saved their life.
Citizens visited the Saint’s body until midnight. A procession at the Cathedral will continue again this morning.
The schedule for today is:
At 7 am the eucharistic celebration will be led by auxiliary bishop Mijo Gorski ,
At 8 am eucharistic celebration will be led by auxiliary bishop Ivan Sasko
At 9 am eucharistic celebration will be led by auxiliary Bishop Valentin Pozaić
At 7 pm the Mass will be led by cardinal Bozanic in communion with the bishops of Croatia and Bosnia
After the mass, there will be a ceremonial departure of the body to the church of St. Leopold in Zagreb’s Dubrava. There will be a welcoming ceremony lead by priest Ike Mandurić. People can their pray and confess until midnight.